Preseason NBA Thoughts 10/06/16

There are six games on the slate tonight which means there should be some good value opening up at most positions as the day goes on.  The lowest Vegas total tonight is 196 (Atlanta at Memphis) and the highest total is 211 (Sacramento at Golden State) with the other four totals between 200 and 204, so I don’t plan on factoring Vegas into my decision-making process too much tonight- not that I usually do anyway.  A lot will come down to what the Warriors decide to do with their rotation tonight but, until I hear otherwise, I am going with the assumption that most, if not all, of their starters will have their minutes capped tonight after beating the Clippers by 50 a couple of nights ago.  I expect their minute totals will be more in line with their first game than their second game.  Outside of the Warriors, there are some nice value options that we already know are available as well as some expensive guys that definitely seem to be worth paying up for.

Note:  DraftKings positions and pricing are used for this article

Point Guard

Jeff Teague- $6,400- IND vs CHI

Teague played 26 minutes in the Pacers last game and I expect him to play a similar amount of minutes tonight with Aaron Brooks still sidelined.  This is also the first chance for Teague to play in front of Pacers fans so I expect him to have an opportunity to shine.  His price is a little more expensive than I like in cash games because I think there are better point-per-dollar options, but I still think there is plenty of upside at his price if he does get around 25 minutes, so I like him for GPPs.

Trey Burke- $5,000- WSH at PHI

I haven’t seen news on John Wall yet this morning so this recommendation could change.  If Wall is unavailable tonight, Burke is a great option against the Sixers.  He played 28 minutes in his last game against Miami and I would expect a similar workload if Wall is out because the Wizards are thin at point guard.  Burke is motivated and playing with a chip on his shoulder after things did not work out in Utah and he should be able to produce when given the opportunity this season.  If Wall is out, Burke is a viable option in cash games and GPPs.

Ish Smith- $4,000- DET at BKN

Lock Smith into your cash game lineups right away.  Reggie Jackson is expected to be out for the next 6-to-8 weeks and Smith will be filling in as the starter.  He showed last season in Philadelphia that he can fill up the stat sheet when given the opportunity and he will have that opportunity tonight at the minimum price on DraftKings.  In addition, Stan Van Gundy said the he will “cap” his starters’ minutes tonight at 24-30 so Smith should easily pay off his salary and then some.  Fire him up in any format with confidence.

Tomas Satoransky- $4,300

Satoransky is a very interesting GPP play if Wall is unavailable.  The Wizards seem to really like this kid and they believe that he can rotate between point guard, shooting guard, and small forward.  If Wall is out, he will get some extra time at the point behind Trey Burke to go along with his time at the other two positions.  Against Miami, he played 31 minutes and a similar workload tonight is not out of the question as the Wizards look to see what they have in their versatile second-round pick.  He is not a recommended option for cash games since he is coming off the bench and still has an unclear role, but he has a high ceiling at his price for GPPs.

Shooting Guard

Jimmy Butler- $7,800- CHI at IND

Butler will most likely score the most raw points at shooting guard tonight and, therefore, is a viable option in any format if you can afford him.  He was productive in the Bulls’ opener despite only being allowed to play in the first half, and tonight he will be on the floor for at least a little bit in the third quarter as well.  It is unlikely that he will give you 5 or 6 times his salary on a preseason allotment of minutes, but it is very likely that he is one of the top scorers at any position tonight.

Joe Young- $4,800- IND vs CHI

Young saw 20 minutes of action in the Pacers first game and should be in line for at least as many minutes tonight with Aaron Brooks still out.  He has some extra value since he is listed as a shooting guard on DraftKings but will be running the point for the Pacers second unit.  Since he is coming off of the bench, he also will not have to worry as much about matching up with Dwyane Wade or Jimmy Butler, which should allow him extra opportunities to score points.  There will probably be a pretty big gap in fantasy points between him and Butler but, for the price, he is still a strong option tonight if you want to spend your money at a different position.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope- $4,800- DET at BKN

KCP is very scoring dependent, and therefore is inconsistent in terms of fantasy points.  On a preseason slate where everything is in flux because coaches limit starter’s minutes on a whim, however, he is a viable option because Van Gundy has confirmed that his starters will play 24-30 minutes.  Knowing that Caldwell-Pope will be on the floor for at least half the game gives him a nice floor for cash games, as well as a nice ceiling if his shot is falling.  He is the least exciting of the Pistons’ starters, but is still a solid option tonight.

Small Forward

Marcus Morris- $4,900- DET at BKN

Morris is in the same situation as the other Detroit starters in that he has a ton of value tonight because he should receive more minutes than most other starters playing tonight.  He should be able to score at least 20 DraftKings points at a position that is pretty weak.  If you want to save money at small forward, he is the recommended option for cash games and has some upside for GPPs as well.

Kevin Durant- $9,400- GSW vs SAC

It is unclear at the moment what the Warriors plan on doing with their starters but, even if Durant is limited to 18-20 minutes tonight there is a strong argument for rostering him in cash games because small forward is a relatively weak position and Durant can easily be the highest scoring player at the position in just 18 minutes.  He should be avoided in GPPs if his minutes are limited, since he won’t have an opportunity to score 40-50 points, but he is a viable cash option either way (as long as the minutes cap is in the 18 minute range).  If he is free to play 25+ minutes again, then he is playable in all formats.

Tobias Harris- $5,700- DET at BKN

Basically everything said about Marcus Morris can be applied to Tobias Harris.  If money is not an issue, then Harris is a slightly better option than Morris.  There is not much reason to give up anything of value in order to “improve” from Morris to Harris, however, so build whatever roster you want with Morris and then, if there is $800 left-over, upgrade him to Harris.  If there isn’t, don’t sweat it.

Power Forward

Zach Randolph- $5,100- MEM vs ATL

The Grizzlies recently announced that Randolph will be coming off the bench this season.  Hopefully people overlook him because of that headline, because it may actually boost his fantasy production since his usage should increase now that he is on the floor with the second unit and he also should draw better matchups.  Last season, his usage rate with Marc Gasol was 23.8 compared to 27.3 without Gasol. Tonight, the Hawks are without Millsap, and possibly Mike Scott, so they are already thin inside and Randolph should be very productive when he is on the floor. Don’t touch Randolph in cash games because his minutes are uncertain (he only played about 10 minutes last game), but he is a high-risk/high-reward GPP option because he can put up a very nice line if he is allowed to play 18-20 minutes.  I wouldn’t recommend rostering him if you are only making a lineup or two, but if you are multi-entering GPPs I like some Randolph exposure.

Kris Humphries- $4,300- ATL vs MEM

Humphries could see a lot of minutes tonight with Millsap out and Scott questionable.  He is not a very exciting player, but he is capable of picking up some fantasy points when he gets minutes and that should be the case tonight.  He is also the minimum price, so keep an eye on reports about Mike Scott.  If Scott is active, Humphries is still worth GPP consideration.  If he is inactive, Humphries is a viable cash option (assuming the Hawks plan to fill the void with Humphries).

DeMarcus Cousins- $9,200- SAC at GSW

Cousins is in a great spot tonight against Zaza Pachulia, Draymond Green and the Warriors.  The only concern is how many minutes Cousins will be allowed to play.  If he is going to play at least 18-20 minutes, however, he is my favorite power forward option.  He has the most upside at the position on pretty much any slate anyway, but today he draws a matchup that he has dominated.  He has performed very well against Draymond Green over the last two seasons, but that doesn’t even compare to what he does against Zaza.  In his last six games against Pachulia (spanning the last two seasons), Cousins is AVERAGING 27.2 points, 13.5 rebounds and 5 assists in 36.8 minutes per game.  If he can get around 20 minutes tonight he should easily be the highest scoring power forward on the slate.

Centers

Andre Drummond- $7,900- DET at BKN

Drummond comes into this season in better shape than he has been in the past and gets a very nice first matchup.  Brook Lopez gives up a ton of fantasy points to opposing centers